People frequently purchase exercise equipment, but then fail to actually use it after an initial period of excitement.
If the equipment could somehow punish the user for lack of use, maybe it would get more use!
The proposal in detail (3 parts):
PART 1: (“The equipment needs to know if you are using it or not.”)
Exercise equipment could have a built-in mechanism to figure out if it was actually being used. (This technology already is typically included in a treadmills, rowing machines, and exercise bikes.)
1) A barbell could have pressure sensors or an accelerometer to count lifts.
Figure 1: The dots indicated in red (and by “A”) are pressure sensitive locations on the barbell, which could let it know if it were being left idle for too long. Or: the barbell could have a low-power accelerometer in it. Actually that is probably a better idea; forget this pressure-sensitivity stuff!
2) A pull-up bar could have a weight/force sensor to count pull-ups.
PART 2: (“It needs to annoy you somehow if you don’t use it.”)
Now that the equipment knows if an individual is using it or not, it needs a way to incentivize that individual to make use of the equipment in times of low dedication.
1) The equipment could be equipped with a speaker that would occasionally emit a shrill sound if it felt that it was being neglected. This is similar to how a smoke detector makes a piercing sound when it is low on battery.
2) The equipment could be hooked into the house WiFi / Internet router. So if a person wasn’t using it, the device would turn off the Internet connection. This might provide sufficient inducement to exercise!
3) The equipment could be hooked into a fridge preventing the house occupant from opening the fridge to acquire delicious food without first placating the exercise equipment.
PART 3: (“It needs a battery that you can’t easily remove.”)
With battery-operated exercise equipment, it would always be possible to just take the batteries out in order to stop being annoyed by the device. So that brings us to the last part of the proposal: a battery case that can ONLY be opened when the battery is fully (or almost fully) drained.
Idea: an electromagnet that would hold the battery case shut while the battery was active. Thus, it would be impossible to open the battery case to take out the battery until the battery was drained. Is it possible to make an electromagnet that would only use minimal energy? Maybe!
Figure 2: Here is a terrible drawing that attempts to show an electromagnet (X, in red) holding up a permanent magnet (Y, in blue), and preventing the latch (W, in green) from sliding left and right. If the electromagnet “X” is disengaged, the permanent magnet “Y” will fall back into the hole, and the latch can slide left and right again.
PROS: Might encourage exercise. Opens up a new world of horrifying possibilities of humans being enslaved by computers.